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Thread: Master Tiler or MasterCraft tiler, tile adhesion issues?

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    DIY Junior Member Natup's Avatar
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    Default Master Tiler or MasterCraft tiler, tile adhesion issues?

    Dear setters (and sympathetic others)

    I’ve been engaged in my own bathroom renovation for the past 2 months. Initially, I was going to do the tiling myself, but decided that this best be left to a master tiler. I did my research and decided to go with a company supposedly has an excellent reputation. They advertise, “all master setters”, guarantee satisfaction and a 3 year warranty.

    In prep for the reno I had managed to get the floor perfectly level (sistered joists, blocking, new subfloor, and plywood underlayment). I laid a heating mat in SLC. I messed the leveling up somewhat and was prepared to do a corrective pour prior to unleashing the setter. However, the owner (of the company: I’ll call him owner) said he’d prefer that I let their respective setter take care of this – I figured they would perhaps use a dry pack around the low perimeter areas, or mortar, and frankly I was happy to oblige.

    On day one, the setter and his assistant showed up and seemed unprepared for the need to level. Indeed he arrived without a level. I offered him several of mine. As you can imagine, first impressions were not great: his wet saw is a small, cheap mastercraft (Canadian Tire; http://reviews.canadiantire.ca/9045/...ws/reviews.htm) table-like saw. He also neglected to bring drop sheets or any protection for the newly installed tub, etc. etc. (perhaps the tools don’t make the master eh!). Regardless, my confidence in the project didn’t start well.

    He laid the ditra that I provided (fortunately, I had unmodified thinset, and a ditra trowel); unfortunately, he used a modified thin-set over the ditra. Later, in regards to this, the owner laughed at me, suggesting that the Ditra warranty meant nothing compared to his warranty (I hope he’s right).

    Hopefully, this is enough background info other than to say that I did express to the owner my concerns regarding the presumed “expertise” of the setter; and he did show up for an inspection. I have several questions:

    1) Setter used a ½ x 3/8? trowel and back-buttered much of each tile; but he did not appear to have compressed notches on setting – i.e. it appears that some parts of tiles are resting on the notches.

    2) I know that John W argues for near 100% thinset-tile-wall coverage. What is your standard? For instance as per my pics there are thin notch gaps running under some tile (see pics demonstrating depth) – is this acceptable?

    3) I have already had the setter redo substantial components of the tile (particularly within the niche – inspired and advised by J Whipple), but in general (superficially) how would you grade the quality of his work? For instance the long plank tile was difficult for him to rip (he believes that the jagged cuts (see pick) will be hidden at ceiling and floor by chaulking
    4) During the inspection, the owner assured me that the setter’s mortar technique looked good (he could tell by looking through the unfinished grout spaces. Regardless, he assured me that satisfaction was guaranteed and that if any issues arise I have a three-year warranty. Am I being a paranoid homeowner here (I am willing to admit this) or do you foresee adhesion issues, and when (e.g. 4 years)?

    5) Regarding the floor: it is level to bubble in the centre (at worst, there is about ¼ dip at tub. To be fair, the owner said that he’d have the tiler correct the entire floor (yet he implied that this would be unreasonable given that ¼ inches is within industry standard). Frankly, I feel for the setter – ultimately he would pay for it. I said that it would be fine as long as the toilet didn’t rock. I just checked (prior to grouting) and it rocks just a tiny bit. I know this can be shimmed – is this acceptable?


    Sorry for being long winded. Ultimately, I feel for the poor setter. He has done a good 2 1/2 days work thus far and has been compliant and relatively good natured with my requests. Frankly, I'm inclined to just have the job completed. I am more pissed with the owner: he promised a master setter. I was shocked when, in front of me, as we were going through the inspection, he provided the setter with a list of equipment that a setter should possess. He demanded that he purchase these tools prior to his next job start Monday – I thought – what about my job?

    Btw. Setter is coming by Sunday to grout.

    Hal
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    DIY Junior Member Natup's Avatar
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    Default More pics: the good

    Niche inspired by John W. Had him redo the grout lines.
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    DIY Junior Member Natup's Avatar
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    Default The Ugly??

    Gaps formed by notches Is this OK? btw - I was very careful not to damage the 1 day old thin set.
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    DIY Junior Member Natup's Avatar
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    Default more pics

    These were pried from the wall to fix the niche
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    DIY Junior Member Natup's Avatar
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    Default

    Illustrates depth of notch gaps:
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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    IMHO, far from 'master'. In reality, far from the minimum industry standards. On a floor, industry standards call for 100% of all edges, and at LEAST 80% coverage of the rest of the tile, with the goal being 100%.

    If you read the Schluter Ditra Installation Manual (you can download it from their website), the reason they recommend a dryset mortar on top of Ditra is that unless they used a rapid set mortar, with a large tile, after waiting over two months, the mortar still hadn't dried sufficiently to support the tile properly. What does that do to the overall strength? Well, the main reason why a modified is stronger than a dryset is that it encapsulates the cement crystalline spikes as they grow while curing and supports them. But, what happens if stress is applied before because they have not properly dried? The cement crystals break and lose strength. A good dryset often has more cement per volume than the modified AND cures just fine in a known, predictable timeframe. I just love it when people think they know more than the people who design, specify, and warrant their stuff.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  7. #7
    DIY Junior Member Natup's Avatar
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    Hi Jim. Would you say that these edges are unsupported:

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  8. #8

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by natup
    He laid the ditra that I provided (fortunately, I had unmodified thinset, and a ditra trowel); unfortunately, he used a modified thin-set over the ditra. Later, in regards to this, the owner laughed at me, suggesting that the Ditra warranty meant nothing compared to his warranty (I hope he’s right).

    Hopefully, this is enough background info other than to say that I did express to the owner my concerns regarding the presumed “expertise” of the setter; and he did show up for an inspection. I have several questions:

    1) Setter used a ½ x 3/8? trowel and back-buttered much of each tile; but he did not appear to have compressed notches on setting – i.e. it appears that some parts of tiles are resting on the notches.

    2) I know that John W argues for near 100% thinset-tile-wall coverage. What is your standard? For instance as per my pics there are thin notch gaps running under some tile (see pics demonstrating depth) – is this acceptable?

    3) I have already had the setter redo substantial components of the tile (particularly within the niche – inspired and advised by J Whipple), but in general (superficially) how would you grade the quality of his work? For instance the long plank tile was difficult for him to rip (he believes that the jagged cuts (see pick) will be hidden at ceiling and floor by chaulking
    4) During the inspection, the owner assured me that the setter’s mortar technique looked good (he could tell by looking through the unfinished grout spaces. Regardless, he assured me that satisfaction was guaranteed and that if any issues arise I have a three-year warranty. Am I being a paranoid homeowner here (I am willing to admit this) or do you foresee adhesion issues, and when (e.g. 4 years)?

    5) Regarding the floor: it is level to bubble in the centre (at worst, there is about ¼ dip at tub. To be fair, the owner said that he’d have the tiler correct the entire floor (yet he implied that this would be unreasonable given that ¼ inches is within industry standard). Frankly, I feel for the setter – ultimately he would pay for it. I said that it would be fine as long as the toilet didn’t rock. I just checked (prior to grouting) and it rocks just a tiny bit. I know this can be shimmed – is this acceptable?
    Did he prefill the ditra's waffles before the tile installation ? Some installers will stand by their work and none of mfgs warranties can accomodate you any better . What type of thin set or medium bed did he use ?

    1) The trowel is an acceptable one . How do you know if proper contact was made ? Did you pull one or see them pulling one ? He definitely had to pull some from the floor , due to the problems mentioned with the SLC.

    2) 100% coverage on every tile -- floor and walls -- is the desired goal but hardly achieved in real life . For this you need an experienced installer which , is an OCD one . Gaps or air pockets are not acceptable -- 10% (not concentrated in one spot ) or less -- .

    3) Hard to see the ceiling cuts , but if edges of the tiles are chipped , uneven gaps, a larger joint -- 1/4 or ore -- will be needed to cover them . Aesthetically this is unacceptable IMO .

    4) There are issues with bondage -- pried tiles from the wall ( poor coverage ) , did the wall got damaged in the process ? -- , gaps under the tiles -- stick probing --, etc. which you can see on the photos . Very hard to rely on warranties in today's reality with the issues at hand .

    5) Toilets are hardly perfectly flat on the bottom . Shimming -- not excessive one -- is acceptable , but plumbers do not appreciate us complicating their life by setting the tiles uneven . The 1/4 inch is a reference from floor preparation and is 1/4 in 10' ( feet ) . This is a maximum allowed , but if you want a flat and leveled floor , the reference should not apply .
    Last edited by eurob; 01-31-2014 at 08:35 PM.
    Roberto

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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Natup View Post
    Hi Jim. Would you say that these edges are unsupported:
    You're there, but unless the photos are lying...they sure don't look like they have thinset there!

    As I said, the standard calls for 100% of the edges, and at LEAST 80% in the field. The goal, not always attained, should be for 100% everywhere, but the industry tests are for the minimum. It also looked like the tiles that were removed did not have 100% or 80% support, but were backbuttered, which helps, but doesn't count unless it touches and bonds with the notched thinset installed underneath.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

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    DIY Junior Member Natup's Avatar
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    Thanks Roberto

    What type of thin set or medium bed did he use ?
    Magniflex 8810

    1) The trowel is an acceptable one . How do you know if proper contact was made ? Did you pull one or see them pulling one ? He definitely had to pull some from the floor , due to the problems mentioned with the SLC.
    He pulled a few - I could clearly see trowel marks on the wall - I assume this means that their must be some air gaps.

    did the wall got damaged in the process ?
    No damage to the wall, but would 24 hours be sufficient to create a firm bond?

    The 1/4 inch is a reference from floor preparation and is 1/4 in 10' ( feet ) .
    This is more like 1/4 over four feet.

    Do you think that most tilers would realize or acknowledge the gapping as presented is unacceptable?

    One more thing I found: a nice chip in the tub surface. He didn't use any reasonable tub protection.

    Hal

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Natup
    Thanks Roberto
    You are welcome .

    Quote Originally Posted by Natup
    Magniflex 8810
    Not familiar with it , but I probably used it 2 or 3 times a long time ago . It is a thin set and building the floor with it is pretty painfull and not allowed unless it is a medium bed . It is also approved for the Ditra -- ANSI 118.1 -- .

    http://www.chembond.com/English/TDS/MagniFlex8810_E.pdf for future references .

    Kinda wired the TDS says not to use in wet areas ? Something to ask the installer .

    Quote Originally Posted by Natup
    He pulled a few - I could clearly see trowel marks on the wall - I assume this means that their must be some air gaps.
    You have to check both surfaces -- back of the tile and the wall - for proper coverage . If you pull one tile and see the notches clearly and undisturbed -- same as when you applied them on the wall -- it means no contact at all with the tile was achieved . Adding more is necessary . I suppose you used Kerdi on the walls , but you know those recommendations , no build up allowed -- ok maybe a little , but not excessive --.

    Quote Originally Posted by Natup
    No damage to the wall, but would 24 hours be sufficient to create a firm bond?
    24h is sufficient to damage the wall -- CBU -- or the membrane Kerdi -- debondig it -- . Probably no damage happened due to insufficient adhesive .


    Quote Originally Posted by Natup
    This is more like 1/4 over four feet.
    Like I said , the flatness or levelness is decided -- by the parties involved -- before installation . In your case is unacceptable .

    Quote Originally Posted by Natup
    Do you think that most tilers would realize or acknowledge the gapping as presented is unacceptable?
    Theory sounds great until you put in practice . Achieving the theory demands dedication and sometime '' out of your mind '' approach . Many will say yes , but until failures , pulling tiles up , hollow sounds , lippage ,etc. are present , no is coming often pretty often .

    Quote Originally Posted by Natup
    One more thing I found: a nice chip in the tub surface. He didn't use any reasonable tub protection.
    That's very unfortunate . Please protect -- your investment -- your tub , repairs beyond a certain point are very costly . Probably in your case a repair can be achieved , call the supplier or the mfg for further assistance .
    Last edited by eurob; 01-31-2014 at 08:35 PM.
    Roberto

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    ACO Shower Drain Sales johnfrwhipple's Avatar
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    post(s) deleted by John Whipple
    Last edited by johnfrwhipple; 03-17-2014 at 06:01 AM.


    jfrwhipple@gmail.com - www-no-curb.com - 604 506 6792

    Always get construction advice double checked by your local city hall. Flood Test Every Shower - Every Time.

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    ACO Shower Drain Sales johnfrwhipple's Avatar
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    Tile does not look like it was set in place. Do the tap test....

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    What are we looking at here?

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    OMG - looks like shit. Is that upper tile out 1/16" and it looks like it is falling forward.


    jfrwhipple@gmail.com - www-no-curb.com - 604 506 6792

    Always get construction advice double checked by your local city hall. Flood Test Every Shower - Every Time.

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    ACO Shower Drain Sales johnfrwhipple's Avatar
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    post(s) deleted by John Whipple
    Last edited by johnfrwhipple; 03-17-2014 at 06:01 AM.


    jfrwhipple@gmail.com - www-no-curb.com - 604 506 6792

    Always get construction advice double checked by your local city hall. Flood Test Every Shower - Every Time.

  15. #15
    DIY Junior Member Natup's Avatar
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    Did the tile man have a wood blade on the tile saw?
    Does Canadian Tire make a MasterCraft diamond blade? I suggested - I should have insisted - that we take the tile to a marble shop for cutting. I wasn't overly concerned about cuts around the window as they will be covered by trim. btw could you rip these with a grinder?

    I would consider a tear out and do over.... I would expect if you accepted such piss poor work that you would be compensated.
    Thankfully, the owner has agreed to replace the tub (I counted about 7 chips/scratches and multiple scratch marks along the edge) - apparently this will come out of the setter's pay. I am hoping the company will resolve the problem - I have asked for a complete rebuild, obviously by a different setter, including ensuring that the waterproofing membrane is in tact. I spent a good deal of effort sealing up that niche. It is possible that the owner thinks that my coverage/bonding concerns are not relevant. Hopefully this tile-on-tile action might persuade him that there is a problem:


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